How to Permanently Delete Items in the Recycle Bin in Vista

Sending deleted files to your Windows Vista Recycle Bin doesn't mean they're gone for good. If left undeleted, files in the Windows Vista Recycle Bin can start to hog serious space on your computer. Delete files in the Recycle Bin to free up space for personal files or programs. You can delete files in Windows Vista within the Recycle Bin or by using Disk Cleanup.


  1. Recycle Bin

    • 1

      Double-click the Recycle Bin icon on your Windows Vista desktop. The Recycle Bin window appears on the screen.

    • 2

      Click "Edit" in the Menu toolbar in the upper-left corner of the window, then click "Select All" to select all of the files in the Recycle Bin. Alternatively, hold down the "Ctrl" key and click individual files to select them.

    • 3

      Click "Empty the Recycle Bin" in the upper-left corner of the window to delete all of the files in the Recycle Bin. Right-click a highlighted file, then click "Delete" to delete the individual file.

    • 4

      Click "Yes" in the dialog box that asks if you are sure you want to permanently delete the file or files. Windows Vista will permanently delete the files.

    Disk Cleanup

    • 5

      Click the "Start" icon on the Windows Vista taskbar. Click "Computer." Right-click "Local Disk (C:)" beneath "Hard Disk Drives," then select "Properties."

    • 6

      Select the "General" tab in the "Local Disk Properties" dialog box, then click "Disk Cleanup" beneath "Capacity." Check the box to the left of "Recycle Bin." Uncheck any other boxes that are checked.

    • 7

      Click "OK" in the lower-right corner of the dialog box. Click "Delete Files" to verify that you want to permanently delete the files from the Recycle Bin.

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